Tag Archives: restriction

Ramsey Gun Bill May Tighten Current Law for Most

Legislation granting handgun permit holders the right to take their weapons anywhere they wish – so long as the guns are kept inside a motor vehicle – may also put a new restriction on persons who lack a permit, Gov. Bill Haslam and others suggest.
The bill sponsored by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (SB142) is virtually assured of passage on the Senate floor Monday evening and House Speaker Beth Harwell has predicted it will be approved by the House as well. The House companion bill, sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, faces its first committee vote on Tuesday.
The measure applies to permit holders whose weapons are “kept from ordinary observation and locked within the trunk, glove box, or interior of the person’s privately owned motor vehicle or a container securely affixed to such vehicle if the permit holder is not in the vehicle.”
In that situation, the bill basically lets the permit holder – there are 371,800 of them in Tennessee, according to the preamble of the legislation – park his or her car anywhere with the gun inside. This includes the parking lot of businesses where guns are prohibited by company policy as well as schools and university campuses.
The legislation also grants businesses immunity from lawsuits resulting from death or injury to someone because of a gun kept inside a vehicle in accordance with the proposed law’s provisions.
It is Ramsey’s attempt at compromise on what he calls “guns in cars” legislation that strirred considerable controversy last year. A bill pushed then by the National Rifle Association was broader, covering all gunowners – not just those with carry permits. The bill failed with the business lobby ardently opposed and Second Amendment ardently supporting it.
The language of the bill says the new law will apply “notwithstanding” various laws now on the books. One of those is a law that generally prohibits possession of guns on school grounds and university campuses. But there’s an exception in the current law for a “non-student adult” who keeps his or her weapon locked in a car.
Thus, as Haslam noted in an appearance before the Tennessee Press Association last week, current law already allows most citizens – so long as they’re not a student or a school employee covered by an employment agreement – to keep a gun in their car on a campus.
The governor has declined to take a position on the bill, but has repeatedly declared his key concern is assuring “safety on campus.” A consideration in deciding whether he will sign the bill, Haslam said, is the possibility that “it actually is more restrictive than the law is now.”
In other words, the “notwithstanding” provision giving permit holders the right to take guns on campus appears at the same time to be repealing the present law allowing a “non-student adult” to keep a gun in his or her car. Some university officials said in interviews they believe that to be the case as well.